One of the most charismatic feature films of the New Wave, A Bout de Souffle (1960) has retained much of its appeal not only as the emphatic statement of a generational break with tradition, but also as Godard's earliest rendition of a set of thematic and stylistic motifs that would become his trademark. Sustained critical attention over almost fifty years has made this a cult film, propelled in part by the memorable coupling of its lead actors, Jean-Paul Belmondo and Jean Seberg, whose story on screen seemed to portray the troubled love affair between French cinema and Hollywood. In this original guide to the film, Ramona Fotiade provides an in-depth analysis of its production and reception contexts, as well as of salient aspects mise-en-scene and editing. She situates A Bout de Souffle in relation to Godard's filmography and critical writings up to 1960, focusing on the elaboration of a narrative and visual discourse that has come to be identified with a distinctive strand in postmodern French cinema.
She also explores the impact of Godard's early counter-narrative and visual strategies on the independent American filmmakers and the French Cinema du Look during the 1980s and 1990s.
Ramona Fotiade is Senior Lecturer in French at the University of Glasgow. She has written widely on Surrealist and experimental cinema and is the author of Pictures of the Mind: Surrealist Photography and Film (2013).
Acknowledgments Synopsis Introduction Chapter 1: Production contexts Chapter 2: The Film: A bout de souffle and the Cinema of the 1950s Chapter 3: Reception and Later Influences: The French Citizen Kane Chapter 4: Conclusion Appendix 1: Credits Appendix 2: Scene Breakdown Appendix 3: Filmographies and Awards Appendix 4: Bibliography Index